Why Car Dealerships Actually Love Hail Storms

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1st Gear: All Hail Hail!


You'd think that having most of your inventory destroyed by a freak hail storm would be a pain in the ass, but it turns out dealerships make good money and bring in new customers after such an event as Automotive News reports.

Tim Olson, president of Dent Terminator, a paintless dent repair company in Tulsa, Okla., said in such situations, customers feel as if they have the upper hand.

"It's like blood in the water," Olson said. "People sense that [dealerships] are at a disadvantage, bringing people into the marketplace that weren't there before."

Recently, the largest F-series dealer in the nation had all 2,500 pickup trucks damaged so they declared a "hail sale. "That Saturday when the dealership opened there were 150 customers waiting to make a deal.

Since the vehicles are covered by insurance, they can sometimes call in repair firms to fix the damage and sell at a rate that's a discount for the customer but still profitable for them. Lightly damaged vehicles can also be sold as-is.


2nd Gear: Lawyer Says GM Will Use Bankruptcy Shield


Despite hinting that they wouldn't deprive people of compensation for accidents that occurred in their flawed vehicles, lawyers for one family say that the company is trying to get the cases moved to a federal court so it can use a bankruptcy shield.

A federal bankruptcy judge in New York ruled in 2009 that the new GM is shielded from claims stemming from cars made before the company emerged from bankruptcy protection. Instead, the claims go against the old GM, which has limited assets. The judge now is being asked to decide if he will allow claims against the new company.

Cooper and Beasley say moving the case to federal court would allow the company to use the bankruptcy to send claims to the old GM.


I don't care how much they save, that would be hella shitty given that Barra has all-but-said they wouldn't do that.

3rd Gear: Lawyers Want Those Black Boxes


Modern cars have "event data recorders" that are essentially black boxes that record what happened to a car leading to a wreck. In the case of the GM ignition defects, lawyers from both sides are trying to get these black boxes as quickly as possible.

The information includes the car's speed, throttle and brake position, whether air bags were triggered and often the position of its ignition switch. The switch's position is particularly important because a defective switch can cut power to steering, brakes and air bags if it slips out of the "run" position and into "accessory" or "off."

Whoever owns a car also owns its black box. But GM asserts the right to "access information about a crash event or share it with others" if the owner agrees, the information was requested by police or government officials, or the information is "part of GM's defense of litigation through the discovery process," according to the owners' manual for the 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt.


It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

4th Gear: Mitsubishi Recalling 920,000 Vehicles Over Light Switch


It's strange to think that Mitsubishi was ever capable of producing nearly a million vehicles, but globally Mitsubishi does better than you'd think.


To wit, they're having to recall that many vehicles over a light switch that might cause headlights and blinkers to just stop working. While there have been no injuries related to that problem it's not an ideal safety condition.

5th Gear: I Wouldn'T Want To Be Head Of The UAW Now


I like a challenge, but there are some I'd just as soon leave to someone else. UAW Prez is one of those jobs and Daniel Howes nicely outlines why today.


Mostly, Bob King was a bit wild and, while he had some success, there's also a lot of bad feeling there.

He backed ballot measures that backfired on union interests — chiefly the question that triggered the right-to-work law. Before submitting petitions to place Proposal 2 on the 2012 ballot, where it failed, Republican Gov. Rick Snyder personally advised King against it, saying, "Don't kick the elephant." He did it anyway.

King's globe-trotting, allegedly in the service of forging dubious alliances underpinned by a vague agenda of "social justice," burned precious cash in the union strike fund and weakened his credibility. How talks with German, Swiss or Italian union leaders could benefit dues-paying members in the United States is a question in search of an answer.

It mostly wouldn't, if you accept two basic premises: first, that transnational alliances of organized labor have a scant record of success. And, second, that a union's priorities generally are a distinctly national concern tied to myriad local considerations, a patchwork of parochial interests affected by a country's national labor laws, its political culture and its history of labor-management relations.


That's a fun legacy to inherit.

Reverse: War Makes Strange Bedfellows

TOn this day in 1940, Edsel Ford telephones William Knudsen of the U.S. Office of Production Management (OPM) to confirm Ford Motor Company's acceptance of Knudsen's proposal to manufacture 9,000 Rolls-Royce-designed engines to be used in British and U.S. airplanes.


Neutral: Would you buy a hail-damaged car?

Have you?

Photo Credit: AP Images

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